Showing posts from July, 2011


overwrought [  OH-ver-RAWT, oh-ver-  ]   [  adjective  ]   MEANING :   1. extremely nervous or excited 2. extremely fatigued or over-worked 3. very elaborate   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   The overwrought employee fell asleep as soon as his head touched the pillow.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   Where Coldplay once showcased frontman Chris Martin's straight-ahead sensitive-guy-with-a-broken- heart lyrics and his fragile and overwrought falsetto, the 31-year-old tabloid fave is writing more obliquely here about death and God, love and war, loss and fulfillment.


panoply [  PAN-uh’-plee  ]   [  noun  ]   MEANING :   1. a splendid display 2. all the arms and armour of a warrior 3. any complete covering   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   The panoply of colourful flags at the ceremony was very pleasing to the eye.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   We can utilize the panoply of sensors and detection devices and monitoring equipment and military hardware to ensure that we do not continue to be subjected to what amounts to an onslaught every single day.


panjandrum [  pan-JAN-druh’ m  ]   [  noun  ]   MEANING :   a person who has or claims to have tremendous importance or influence   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   The BJP's panjandrums will have to sit down and analyse the impact of Varun Gandhi's speech at the recent parliamentary hustings.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   That wouldn't please the Democratic panjandrums who desperately want a nominee now that John McCain has wrapped up the Republican race.


malevolent [  muh’-LEV-uh’-luh’ nt  ]   [  adjective  ]   MEANING :   1. having or displaying ill-will, hatred; disposed to causing harm or evil to others; malicious 2. having an evil, malicious influence   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   His malevolent attitude towards those who were more successful revealed a very mediocre character.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   With his scraggly matted hair, chalky-white scarred face, smudged raccoon eyes and drunkenly-applied blood-red lipstick -- all the more disturbing when worn with a neat shirt, tie and vest -- Ledger seemed to have tapped into his darkest, deepest demons, only to channel them back into a malevolent anti-hero.


nifty [  NIF-tee  ]   [  adjective  ]   MEANING :   (adj.) very smart, clever and stylish   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   The nifty satire of Catch 22 made it a huge bestseller.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   Just as Shakespeare singlehandedly changed the language by adding all kinds of nifty new words and phrases, change in pronunciation is an ongoing process.


onomatopoeia [  on-uh’-mat-uh’- PEE-uh’, mah-tuh’   ]   [  noun  ]   MEANING :   the formation or use of words that imitate natural sounds like buzz, crack, splash, etc.   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   The word hiss can be said to be an onomatopoeia.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   As well as portmanteaus, "meshing" is a close relation of onomatopoeia - a type of word that sounds like the thing it is describing, such as crunch or smash - and also a "distant cousin" of rhyming slang, says Mr Gabay. 


odyssey [  OD-uh’-see  ] [  noun  ] MEANING : 1. a long adventurous trip 2. an intellectual or spiritual quest USAGE EXAMPLE 1 : David Livingstone's odyssey into the heart of Africa is a story that every school boy knows. USAGE EXAMPLE 2 : This is where I've landed, three weeks into a five-week odyssey into Australia's adventurous heart.


pandemonium [  pan-duh’-MOH- nee-uh’ m  ]   [  noun  ]   MEANING :   1. noisy and wild confusion or uproar 2. a place of utter chaos or unruly uproar   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   There was mass pandemonium as the gunman opened fire.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   There was mass pandemonium, people running, Kelly told The Associated Press. "One officer -- the first into the classroom -- told me he could still smell gunpowder."


comely [  KUHM-lee  ]   [  adjective  ]   MEANING :   1. pleasing in appearance; attractive 2. suitable or proper; seemly   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   Her comely appearance made her famous.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   We are in the Alps proper, mountains towering above comely valleys dotted variously with chalets and cows.


officious [  uh’-FISH-uh’ s  ]   [  adjective  ]   MEANING :   characterized by excessive intrusiveness, offering unwanted services or advice to others; meddlesome   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   Officious interference in almost all matters by the bureaucracy has been the bane of our country.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   My friend Reilly has the perfect put-down for that officious secretary with the superior, mock-British accent who fends off all phone calls to her boss with some icy variation of, "Can I tell him the subject of your call?"


misconstrue [  mis-KON-stroo or, mis-kuh’ n-STROO  ]   [  transitive verb  ]   MEANING :   to not understand the true meaning; to misinterpret   USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :   Pakistan should not misconstrue India's civilized response to the Mumbai terror attacks as a sign of weakness.   USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :   People should not misconstrue this as the price to be paid for speaking out within the Pentagon, Morrell said.

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